Solomon K. Manjoe’s Testament of UDS

Solomon K. Manjoe’s Testament of UDS

Solomon Manjoe

In part 3 of Rita Apaloo’s article about her visit to UDS, she mentioned how another student, Gabriel Zargo, found jobs for two hotel management students. Solomon K. Manjoe is one of those students. 

Solomon is 24 years old and graduated on April 13, 2019, with Diplomas in Computers and Hotel Management. He was hired as a non-contracted employee about a week before he graduated. I interviewed him on Messenger on July 12 to see how work was going for the first 90 days.

Heather: Are you ready to share how your job is going?

Solomon: I am getting very interested and comfortable with my job. The beginning was very hard because I never had much experience, but now am serving as a night auditor.

Heather: Are they paying you?

Solomon on Graduation Day

Solomon: Yes. They are paying me but am not really happy with what they are giving me. However, to be real I am getting a lot of experience. 

Heather: Did your courses at UDS help with learning this job?

Solomon: Yes, everything I am doing at work is what I got from my study at UDS.

HeatherWhat are your future hopes in this career?

Solomon: My future hope is to become a manager of one of the best hotels in our Liberia.

Heather: What was your educational background before UDS?

Solomon: I’m a high school graduate. I went to college for two semesters for a computer programming degree and drop out because I couldn’t afford it. 

Heather: Has UDS prepared you to meet your future goals?

Solomon: So true, I strongly believe that we from UDS are very qualified and we can do better from what I experienced. 

Solomon in his uniform

Solomon works a foreign-owned guest house about 10 minutes from our center. Although they have not offered him a permanent employment contract, he is able to support his family for now. 

Thank you for giving Solomon the chance to learn two trades in our center and start his career in hotel management!

You Are Making a Big Difference for Liberian Youth

You Are Making a Big Difference for Liberian Youth

Your continued support of Liberian Youth is changing their lives for the better. You may not fully appreciate your impact, but what you have accomplished in helping these ambitious young men and women gain marketable skills at our training center is paramount to their success.

On Saturday, October 13, 2018, the Honorable Jackson George, Consul General, Liberian Consulate of Minnesota, attended our board meeting to share his experiences and observations while visiting our center in July. He conveyed to our board members and volunteers participating in person or on Google Hangout how much we are doing on very little. He shared:

1) How impressed he was with our students and their hunger to learn.

2) An explanation of how the current economic situation makes life challenging:

  • With an unemployment rate of about 85%, it is challenging for young people to find work, so the work of UDS is instrumental in the students finding employment or entrepreneurship.
  • UDS graduates are more prepared to be ready to work than young people graduating from Liberian universities due to the practical application training they receive.

3) A pledge to assist in promoting the work of UDS with Liberian government authorities and other agencies where collaboration can help strengthen our programs.

And you have made this possible through your investment in their training, ultimately leading to their success!

Left to right: Adam Pederson, Board Secretary; Diane Anastos, Board Treasurer; Miriam Monono Issac, Board Member; Jackson George, Consul General; Beyan Gonowolo, Board Member; & Mary Rosendahl, Board Member. Two volunteers: Sonal Suri and Melissa Meach joined by Google Hangout.

Life is a bumpy ride…

Life is an interesting journey, because no matter how well we plan out our destinations something along the way detours us down a different road. This alternative route is often a bumpy ride filled with pot holes of uncertainty and ruts of despair. However, as we navigate our way through this rough terrain we discover a new world that is filled with even more possibilities. Surprisingly, it is only the risk takers and adventurers who are willing to bypass the main thoroughfares of life to venture into this new land of hopes and dreams. For those who are willing to set out on such a quest they find that it was well worth it in the end.

My journey has detoured me from maintaining my blog. It is not that I lack the stories or ideas, it is just taking the time to sit down and write. The main detour of writing posts has been seeking permanent paid employment since my return from Liberia in January. During my first two months of job searching it felt like I was stuck in the mud and the prospects of getting out seemed unlikely. Then I was able to land a temporary job and for the next two months I was able to earn an income while rethinking the job search.

This two-month temp job was very much needed, because when it ended I had a re-surge of energy to strategically focus on the steps I needed to find employment. The first step was joining a job transition networking group, so I could get the vital tools and resources plus the weekly support. The next step was determining what credentials I was lacking and how I could change that. Fortunately, I was awarded a scholarship that covered 63% of the tuition for a two-week fast-track project management certificate program starting July 26. The last was signing up with a program that will give me one-on-one support and additional resources and tools in defining what I am seeking. These three steps may have not happened if I was not willing to take a different route.

It is nearly five months since I have returned from Liberia, and yet not a day goes by that I do not think about my experiences and the many adventures (or misadventures) I had while living there. After dedicating a great deal of heart, energy, time and money working with and serving the people of Liberia it is my intention that I continue my work in West Africa. I hope I can find an organization that can best utilize my skills, experience, and knowledge; one that provides the resources (micro-credit), the opportunity (business development training), and respect (cultural revitalization) that will empower marginalized people to regain dignity and obtain independence from charitable hand-outs.

This is just the beginning of my journey that I hope will continue down a different path, because there is so much more I want to explore. So it is my hope as I venture along this unpaved road that I can restart my blog to share my experiences since who knows where this quest will take me.